Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Philippe Petain's antisemitism unmasked

From Ynet News, 4 Oct 2010, from AFP:

[The discovery of an original W2 document establishes Vichy leader Philippe Petain's decisive role and reveals his deep antisemitism, French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld told AFP.]

...Petain, a military hero in World War I, became head of the rump state based at Vichy in central France which collaborated with the German Nazi occupiers following defeat in World War II.

The penciled-in changes to the document, from October 1940, are a "profound alteration" of the document's nature, Klarsfeld said.

While the original set out to exclude "descendants of Jews born French or naturalized before 1860", Petain crossed out this reference, thus applying the measures to all Jews in France.

The scope of Jews' exclusion is considerably widened, with the minority being barred from jobs in teaching and the judiciary as well as prevented from standing for elected office.

"The main argument of Petain's defenders was to say that he protected French Jews. This argument has now fallen," he said...

'Desire to turn Jews into scapegoats'
...Now, we have definite proof that the Jews' status was the personal will of marshal Petain," said Klarsfeld.
Petain wanted "to show that France deserved to be at the forefront of the new European order. There was also the desire to turn the Jews into scapegoats for the defeat" of France by the Nazis, said Klarsfeld.

"The status of Jews was a specifically French measure, spontaneous. The Germans didn't ask Vichy France to take this measure...

Nevertheless, of all Nazi-occupied countries, France was the one where "the Jewish community suffered the least tragic harm," said Klarsfeld. Around three-quarters of the Jewish population survived, or around 240,000 out of 320,000. "That's not thanks to France but to the French, thanks to all the courageous people who helped the Jews all over the place," he said.
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